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Eight ways to cure the time management problem

We all know that poor time management is important. But if we really accounted for our time in the same way that we did every other cost we would probably be in for a shock.  According to research by global consulting firm Bain & Co and enterprise analytics company VoloMetrix, company executives receive 30,000 external communications a year compared with 1,000 in the 1970s.

The research revealed big productivity losses related to time management because businesses to not track and monitor employees’ time as closely as they track other resources, such as capital.

Do you record time spent as a cost against individual sales in your P&L or does it just fall into the salaries line in your overheads? Knowing how much time directly supports your sales is a critical performance measure. So if you already do this where does the rest of the time go?

The top eight time consumers according to the report are:

  • Muddled company agendas. Agendas should be clear for everyone in the company so that employees know which tasks are the top priority and the tasks that can be shelved.
  •  A time is free attitude. Time is clearly not free and should be managed as carefully as any other asset or resource.
  • Projects. Having the bright idea is the easy bit. But does the business case for the project really stand up when the time factor is costed properly.
  • Too many layers. The more organisational layers the more work is created in managing and communicating before the core tasks are carried out.
  • Anyone can call a meeting. The authority to call a meeting should be limited, as should the number of attendees.
  • Murky decision making. Decision making can be streamlined through the use of a standardised decision-making process.
  • Meeting time is free time. A clear agenda, advance preparation and attention to getting results on time can ensure maximum productivity at meetings.
  • Where did the time go? Time spent in meetings and on emails should be tracked and targeted to assess and improve productivity.

When we think of time management, it is not just out own time we should be worrying about.

Helen Alexander

Millbrook Financial Management Ltd

15 ways to improve profitability

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Profit is vital to every business, what is the point of being in business if you don’t make a profit?

So here are my tips on how to improve your profitability:

  1. Weed out loss making products, clients and departments – concentrate on high margin products and services
  2. Reduce Employment Costs – use Freelancers instead of Permanent Employees where appropriate
  3. Use Virtual Communication Technology – meetings can be held over the internet with Skype or other systems, it will cut traveling time and costs
  4. Use Social Media and Networking – marketing can be costly and the results can be hard to measure, use your contacts to generate leads and sales and always ask for referrals
  5. Increase Productivity – eliminate wasteful and unnecessary processes, I was told it used to take 17 people in the NHS to change a light bulb on a hospital ward (requisitions, approvals, payments, changing the bulb…) the solution to cut wasted processes was to keep a stock of bulbs on the ward
  6. Negotiate with suppliers – always look at ways to reduce cost including using alternative suppliers
  7. Understand your clients requirements – the client knows what he wants and what represents value, if you deliver value you will get more business
  8. Seek add on sales – what other products or services might be useful to your existing clients
  9. Keep an eye on your competitors – competitor analysis will enable you to understand differences in price, distribution, market and demand
  10. Find New Markets – use market research to expand into new areas
  11. Decrease Overheads – analyse all of your overheads including Rent, Rates, Utilities – could you sub-let part or your premises or reduce waste
  12. Reduce Stock Levels – can you turnover your stock more quickly or buy to order
  13. Improve your Cash Cycle – reduce slow payment by debtors, invoice promptly and settle disputes quickly
  14. Invest in Technology – automate processes with ERP systems
  15. Use Key Performance IndicatorsKPI’s help you achieve your goals

steve@bicknells.net

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